They say that the only common trait among successful entrepreneurs is that they were raised in families headed by successful entrepreneurs, where kids watched first-hand as someone believed in their own ideas, had the courage to take a risk, rode the cash-flow roller coaster, and enjoyed it enough to succeed.
Today, the National Women's Business Council, which advises the Small Business Administration, estimates that in 2008 there were 7.2 million majority-owned, privately-held, women-owned businesses in the United States, employing 7.3 million people and generating $1.1 trillion in sales. It's estimated that women are starting businesses at twice the rate as any other group of entrepreneurs.
So hats off to all the moms who run their own businesses and the organizations who help them, including (but certainly not limited to):
Count Me In (CMI)
Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence is the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources, business education and community support for women entrepreneurs seeking to grow micro businesses to million dollar enterprises."
CMI is hosting a stellar competition, the M3 Race. "The Make Mine a Million $ Business RACE (M3 RACE) is a year-long business growth marathon to inspire women entrepreneurs like you to hit your revenue goals and receive a personalized business assessment and revenue tracking tools; quick and easy networking; sales, marketing and promotional opportunities; and the chance to win a Grand Prize of $100,000 cash for your business.
National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is a 33-year-old nonprofit organization of nearly 8,000 women entrepreneurs that began when a dozen businesswomen in the Washington, D.C. area met informally in late 1974 to exchange information on federal contracts, bank credit and other financial issues.
Today, NAWBO has nearly 80 chapters in the nation and has an international presence in more than 60 countries as the official U.S. member of Les Femmes Chefs d'Enterprises Mondiales (FCEM). Committed to social and humanitarian outreach, NAWBO formed WomenBizRelief and raised $40,000 to assist women entrepreneurs impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. NAWBO's efforts earned it an Award of Excellence from the American Society of Association Executives." In addition to member-only benefits, NAWBO also founded the:
Institute for Entrepreneurial Development
In 2003, the National Association for Women Business Owners formed the NAWBO Institute for Entrepreneurial Development, a 501(c)3 non-profit educational foundation that seeks to provide opportunities for capacity building and organizational development for emerging and established women entrepreneurs.
Through the Institute, NAWBO aims to strengthen the wealth creating capacity of women business owners and to promote economic development within the entrepreneurial community so that we can build a legacy of success for the next generation of women entrepreneurs.
U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Women's Business Ownership
The Office of Women's Business Ownership (OWBO), with 112 centers in nearly every state, exists to establish and oversee a network of Women's Business Centers (WBCs) throughout the United States and its territories.
Through the management and technical assistance provided by the WBCs, entrepreneurs, especially women who are economically or socially disadvantaged, are offered comprehensive training and counseling on a vast array of topics in many languages to help them start and grow their own businesses.
Ana Recio Harvey has been named as head of the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Women's Business Ownership. Ana Recio Harvey, an experienced entrepreneur and recently the president of the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, has been named as head of the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Women's Business Ownership, SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills recently announced.
WomenBiz.gov: The Gateway for Women-Owned Businesses Selling to the Federal Government.
Wherever you are in developing your business, womenbiz.gov can help you do business with the federal government. You'll find useful information and links specifically focused on the woman business owner interested in doing business with the federal government.
WomanOwned.Com: Business Networks for Women
WomanOwned.com has more than 30,000 unique visitors to its site each month, offering articles on running a business and providing a way to connect with other women.
We believe the trend for women to leave corporate America for more flexible work environments will continue to rise. Technology and a stronger desire from highly-skilled and educated women to spend more time with their young children will continue to drive this trend up. Businesses and individuals looking for part-time and temporary help will find the most talented women working from their professional home offices. It is the new way to do business.
And least we focus only on women's big ventures, let's not forget the micro-credit movement empowering women around the world:
The Microcredit Summit Campaign
The goal of this campaign is "to ensure that 175 million of the world's poorest families, especially women of those families, are receiving credit for self-employment and other financial and business services. To help 100 million families rise above the US $1 per day threshold by 2015. It's tagline: Reach the Poorest - Empower Women - Build Financial Self-Sufficiency - Ensure Social Impact.
And my own personal favorite:
The Heifer Project
Your mother fed you, clothed you and protected you. So what better way to show your appreciation for everything she's done than to give other mothers around the world the same opportunity to care for their own children?
Give a life-changing Heifer gift and help mothers like Isata Kanu, who lost her home, her spouse and her livelihood to Sierra Leone's brutal civil war. But now, thanks to gifts from generous supporters like you, Heifer is helping Isata and other mothers in her community care for their children and build sustainable futures.